Posts

Showing posts from July 15, 2018

Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When attacked by ghastly Dementors, young wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) breaks rule by using magic in public...amongst Muggles, and is threatened with expulsion from Hogwarts. Meanwhile, the increasingly iron-fisted Ministry of Magic, unimpressed by Harry’s forewarnings of imminent danger from Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), appoints a new Professor of the Dark Arts, Margaret Thatc...er...Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), and her first call of order (by order of Minister Robert Hardy) is to outlaw defensive magic, firstly by discrediting Harry’s mentor Dumbledore, whose influence Hardy is paranoid about. She is also keeping a particularly close watch over young Harry and his pals Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint). Somewhere in all of this, Harry experiences his first kiss with the unfortunately named Cho Chang (Katie Leung), but ultimately he begins teaching Hogwarts students magic spells himself, in secret (playing out in a “Dead Poets Society”-like fashion). Gary O…

Review: Oklahoma Crude

Mean-spirited loner Faye Dunaway is a small landowner who begrudgingly takes on the help of drifter George C. Scott when thuggish oil company rep Jack Palance (as hateful as ever) puts pressure on her. British veteran Sir John Mills is her ne’er-do-well father whom she scorns continually.


Not-bad, well-acted 1973 Stanley Kramer (“The Defiant Ones”, “Not as a Stranger”, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”) comedy-drama-western is a bit similar at times to the earlier “Lucy Gallant”, but slightly more feminist in its approach. The earlier film tried hard, but it was 1955 after all. By the 1970s, things had changed somewhat. This one gets bogged down as Palance et al just seem to stand around waiting a lot. After one hell of an imposing entrance I thought he was gonna be a major badass (as he was in “Shane” and particularly “Barabbas”), but his character gets short shrift after that. Still, Dunaway (whose character pretty much stays the same throughout, thankfully), Scott and old scene-steale…

Review: Street Fighter

Megalomaniac Gen. Bison (Raul Julia) has kidnapped 63 Allied Nations hostages and attached a ransom of $20 Billion to be paid within 72 hours. The general consensus by the Allied Nations command, is that the demands are to be met. Jean-Claude Van Damme is Col. Guile, leader of the Allied Nations (and featuring a couple of mercenaries-for-hire in Damian Chapa and Byron Mann as tagalongs) whose army defy orders and attempt a rescue, aiming to take down Bison and his crew in the process. Aussie pop princess Kylie Minogue is feistysergeant named Cammy, Ming-Na Wen plays a reporter whose father died thanks to Bison, Wes Studi plays a shady arms dealer, Andrew Bryniarski is a numbskull Russian thug, and Roshan Seth plays a scientist manipulated by Bison into transforming one of Guille’s kidnapped men (Robert Mammone’s Blanka) into a super-strong freak. Simon Callow plays a government official, in a throwaway part.


You could hear the collective sounds of millions of computer nerds crying the…

Review: Into the Blue

Idealistic adventurers (and lovers) Paul Walker and Jessica Alba live in the Bahamas on a crummy boat searching for treasure. Along comes Walker’s unscrupulous lawyer buddy Scott Caan and his girlfriend-of-the-week (the extremely cute Ashley Scott, who seems miscast) hoping to go diving with Walker and Alba. There they find the possible wreckage of a mythical ship known as the Zephyr. Complications come by way of sharks, and a crashed plane full of drugs nearby that baddies Tyson Beckford and James Frain are looking for. Then there’s Walker’s friendly (but very competitive) rival Josh Brolin, who has money up to yin yang and is always sniffing around, possibly having designs on Alba.


Scenic 2005 John Stockwell (the disappointing “Blue Crush”) film, essentially a remake of “The Deep” is a pretty movie about pretty people doing pretty much bugger all except looking pretty in pretty surroundings. For what it is, it’s actually pretty good. I especially appreciated all the shots of Jessica…

Review: Friday Night Lights

Based on true events, this film follows one season of the Odessa-Permian Panthers Gridiron team, and their newly appointed coach Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton). Odessa, you see, is a town full of deadbeats, no-hopers, and coulda-beens whose only bright spot is their high school football team, and Coach Gaines is under enormous pressure to win, win, WIN AT ALL COSTS. Lucas Black is the brooding but unassuming quarterback who has an ill mother and designs on leaving Odessa forever, ASAP. Derek Luke plays the egotistical but talented star player, and Garrett Hedlund is the son of a former champion Odessa-Permian player turned volatile drunk (played by country star Tim McGraw, very believably too).


2004 Peter Berg (“Very Bad Things”, “Lone Survivor”, “Patriots Day”) gridiron drama has fine performances and seems fairly rooted in reality, but doesn’t offer much else in the way of originality or entertainment for the non-Gridiron loving person like me (it seems a perfectly acceptable 80 minute…

Review: Death Warrant

As requested by the LA Attorney-General, Canadian Mountie Jean-Claude Van Damme goes undercover as a prisoner to investigate mysterious deaths in a maximum security prison, including the death of the Assistant Warden. He finds sadistic and corrupt prison staff (led by thuggish Art LaFleur), vicious inmates, and his old nemesis, a serial killer nicknamed ‘The Sandman’ (a seriously creepy Patrick Kilpatrick). ‘The Sandman’ of course is the one guy who can blow Van Damme’s cover. Hmmm, I wonder how he managed to get transferred to the same prison? Cynthia Gibb plays the lawyer who is posing as Van Damme’s wife (transferring crucial info during conjugal visits), Robert Guillaume is a wise old inmate, whilst other inmates are played by George Jenesky and creepy-eyed Abdul Salaam El Razzac, whose character seems to pimp out some transsexual prison hookers in a rather weird moment.


1990 Deran Sarafian (terrible films like “Gunmen” and “Terminal Velocity”, and a lot of TV) undercover cop/kill…